November 26, 2010

Nutt talking Mississippi State

Ole Miss' Houston Nutt may not have truly understood the importance of the Egg Bowl rivalry until last year.

The veteran SEC head coach enjoyed success against Mississippi State while at Arkansas and it followed him to Arkansas where he won his first Egg Bowl in convincing 45-0 fashion. But following last season's 41-27 loss to the Bulldogs, Nutt has a newfound respect for the rivalry.

"It is really big with MSU," Nutt said. "Playing Mississippi State when I was at Arkansas is not the same as it is here at Ole Miss. We have basically reversed roles this year with State. Last year we were going to a bowl game but this year we are not. This is a big ballgame. All summer long all I heard was people talking about the Mississippi State game. When your state is divided, you truly understand what a rivalry is, it's really big."

With the Rebels sitting at 4-7 this will be their final game of the year with no hope of a postseason. Much like MSU did a year ago, the Rebels are looking at this game as their bowl.

"This is the biggest game of the year for us," Nutt said. "It's the last game this year. It's called the Egg Bowl with a lot of tradition and a lot of history. A lot of these guys will never put on a football uniform again. To me it's the most important 60 minutes of a lot of our guys lives. A lot of our young guys as well are going to witness something that they haven't experienced before. They've heard about the Egg Bowl, heard about the instate rival but they'll see an intensity that they have never seen before."

The Bulldogs have been able to build off of their 2009 Egg Bowl victory and enter the regular season finale with a 7-3 record. Much of State's success can be credited to their ability to create turnovers on defense. The Bulldogs are plus-seven in the turnover margin while Ole Miss is on the opposite end at minus-seven.

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